Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ladybug Metamorphosis Photo Essay

We were so lucky to have a large ladybug hatch in our yard. I spotted their larva munching on some weeds we were about to pull & we watched them like a hawk for weeks.

Would you recognize this as a ladybug larva? It looks quite alien, no? 

ladybug larva

After they get their fill, the larvae find something to attach themselves to & enter the pupal stage. In this photo, you can see the larval legs up top & the newly forming leg buds of the ladybird beetles final shape. The segments on the very bottom are actually going to form the beetles’ face. The ladybug pupa completely turns around inside in its metamorphosis! 

Ladybug Pupa 1

Here, you can see the ladybug pupa’s permanent legs growing & darkening. Also notice what was the larval skin is shriveling.

Ladybug Pupa 3

The pupa’s face gets darker as it changes.

Ladybug Pupa 2

Happy birthday, ladybug! The ladybug emerges from its shed pupal skin. There’s some neat metamorphosis vocabulary about this stage. The adult ladybug still in its pupal case is called a “pharate”. The shed pupal case (the larva’s skin!) is called the “exuvia”. The verb for coming out of the pupal case is “eclose”.

Ladybug Metamorphosis 2

Ladybug Metamorphosis 3

Ladybug Metamorphosis

Shortly after the pharate adult has eclosed (using those new words!), its elytra (fore wings) are soft & light yellow. And no spots!

Ladybug Soft Wings

Ladybug Newly Emerged

Like the majority of beetles, adult ladybugs have two sets of wings. They do not fly with the wings that we can see. The elytra are hard wing-coverings for their delicate true wings (hind wings). Now the ladybug has to stretch out its hind wings until the blood in the veins dry & harden permanently.

Did you know ladybugs had these hidden wings? You rarely see them unless they’re in flight!

Ladybug Drying Wings

The ladybug is getting harder & darker & spots are appearing.

Ladybug Spots Forming

Almost done! The ladybird beetle is now dark orange, and on its way to turning dark red as the elytra continue to harden. We took this ladybug outside & it flew away, off to eat over 5,000 aphids in its life!

Ladybug Turning Red

Passing Each Other in the Hall

I had a good dream about my brother, finally.

It wasn’t a dream that had a plot, or really made much sense, but it was the feeling of the dream that was good.

We were traveling, my husband & kids & I. We were in a hotel & the hotel room was full of the bustling commotion that comes when everyone’s getting ready for a day in an exciting new city. They were chattering & happy.

I stepped out the hotel room door, into the hall. The hall was full of this sunny orange light. It was warm & cheery.

There was my brother! Coming toward me down the hotel’s hallway.

He was younger & happy & moving so confidently & giving me that look he had when he’d see us again after a long time apart. The look that made you feel brilliant & loved but also a little like meeting your hero. You want to impress! You want to make him think you’re the most clever & cool person in the entire universe! But you know that even though you’re only reasonably clever & occasionally cool, he loves you so much & thinks the world of you.

He’s moving towards me & I’m filled with the same Kid Sister feeling I felt every single time I ever saw my brother. I’m gleeful & nervous/excited.

He smiles at me & hugs me, but he doesn’t really stop moving. He says “I’m sorry, but I really have to be somewhere, to get something done. But we’ll get together & we’ll go see the town.”

My brother moved off down the hall, and like for so much of my life, I watched him move on without me.



But in my dream & even now, I believe him. I believe that we’ll be together again, in the warm sunny light, happy in the excitement of a trip, as we’re lacing up our shoes for a day together in exciting new place.

Dabbling in Watercolors

I’ve started playing with watercolor paints.

For this first one, I gathered fall leaves & traced them directly onto 8″x8″ watercolor paper. The small size really appeals to me just starting out, because it isn’t a huge commitment. I actually used Roseart watercolor paints for this. I enjoyed how easy they were to blend.

Watercolor Leaves


For this one, I used a photo of poppies as a reference. Poppies are great for beginners, because their shapes are so fluid & forgive a lot of mistakes.

Watercolor Poppies


I used a different set of water color paints for this one & was frustrated the entire time. I bought them at Joann Fabrics & Crafts & they were so terrible. The didn’t dissolve at all & there were chunks of filler in the pigment. It was very frustrating, considering I thought I was moving up a notch by buying something other than RoseArt. I have since been given some nicer watercolors!